Catholic Charities: a core lead in Central Louisiana’s disaster readiness

by Cynthia Hawthorne, CCCLA Disaster Relief Volunteer

Let me share with you a little about our Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities of Central Louisiana is a member of the 168 Catholic Charities agencies united in faith and mission to serve our communities. CCUSA operates in 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 5 territories offering programs to assist individuals in improving and restoring their lives. CCUSA is the official Domestic Relief Agency of the US Catholic Church that provides support to communities before and after a disaster strikes.

In 2022, CCUSA distributed 9 million dollars as one of our nation’s major Response Teams. Catholic Charities of Central Louisiana received relief dollars from CCUSA to assist in the long-term relief and recovery support for Central Louisiana following Hurricane Laura. That is just one example of the many ways CCUSA answers the call to assist Catholic Charities of Central Louisiana in helping our community.

The ferocity of the Derecho that hit Houston with wind speeds 75 to 100 mph illustrates the increasing need to prepare for natural disasters and human disasters that may strike our communities. Catholic Charities of Central Louisiana offers a 3-part Disaster Preparedness Program to assist families, parishes, and communities in adapting responses to fit their needs. Part 1 focuses on individuals and families making disaster plans to reduce anxiety, reduce potential damage, and to better protect our households and families. Some of the issues addressed include getting Emergency Warnings, shelter or evacuation plans, and checklist for supplies, emergency papers and even pet needs. Part 2 focuses on securing Parish Operations and protecting the church, so it is available to serve the parish with Mass, sacraments, and parish needs. Part 3 Sharing our Gifts is a call to reach back out to our community with time, talent, and resources during a disaster. Our faith tells us in 1 Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Disaster Planning is one way to use our gifts for family and community.

The variety and magnitude of floods, storms, wildfires, and natural disasters striking our country means we must take the steps to follow God’s call for us to be neighbor helping neighbor. Check out how you can be Disaster Prepared by going to for a link to Disaster Relief, then, scroll down to CDPP Video Series or go to YouTube Catholic Charities USA: Disaster Preparedness Series for Individuals & families (part 1).